NASA Program Makes Buying Legit IT Easier

Montri Nipitvittaya/

The agency's SEWP customers can choose when buying from an authorized reseller matters to their agencies.

NASA has launched a new program to help buyers using its governmentwide IT contract verify that the products they're buying are from legitimate sources. 

NASA on Monday unveiled the Established Authorized Reseller Program for its billion dollar Solutions for Enterprise-Wide Procurement vehicle, better known as SEWP. The program limits certain contracts to companies specifically authorized to re-sell technology products to the federal government. Non-authorized sellers, then, will be restricted from sending quotes for certain products if the original manufacturer already has an authorized reseller, according to NASA.

The program also allows the customers to determine when they want to use an authorized reseller.

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“[W]hen it’s important ... and it matters whether the government uses those authorized resellers or not … we only allow quotes to come from those," Joanne Woytek, SEWP program manager said on "Government Matters" television show Sunday. “If you want to buy a router from a major networking manufacturer, you probably want them to a be an authorized reseller. If you want to buy a power cable, you maybe don't care."

Some buyers have approached SEWP with concerns about "possible tainting or counterfeit or other issues," Woytek said. NASA also created a new tool that allows the agency to verify each order against its database for authorized vendors, "checking on the relationship between the vendor and the manufacturer."

SEWP works with 5,100 original equipment manufacturers and technology service providers and offers a wide-range of technology hardware, like desktops, servers and networking equipment as well as services like installation and maintenance. SEWP has overseen $1.5 billion in orders to date, according to an agency newsletter.

The news comes on the heels of an executive order directing agencies to assess their supply chains, especially as they relate to the strengthening the nation's defense industrial base and a executive order from April directing agencies to buy American products.